This major exhibition will feature some of the most important examples of brass, copper, stone and terracotta sculpture from West Africa ever to be exhibited in the United States.

Artists of the Kingdom of Ife (in what is today southwestern Nigeria), created sculptures that were among the most beautiful and sophisticated works of art being produced anywhere in the world at the time. Dating from the 12th to 15th centuries A,D., the arts of Ife are noteworthy for their visual power, iconic complexity and variability of form.

One of the  high points of the exhibition is a group of awe-inspiring, life-size portrait heads of copper and various alloys that used techniques far in advance of anything available in Europe or China at the time. Surprisingly, in light of the unique importance of Ife art and civilization, no broad-based museum exhibition outside of Ife itself has featured these works. The Nigerian government’s exceptional commitment to the project, with loans from the magnificent collections of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, has led to the inclusion of approximately 100 of the most famous and beautiful Ife objects.

Previously shown at the British Museum , the exhibition was described by critics as “flabbergasting”, “once in a lifetime” and containing “artworks that rank with the Terracotta Army, the Parthenon or the mask of Tutankhamun as treasures of the human spirit”. In the Sunday Times, critic Waldemar Januszczak wrote: “A glorious display of Ife sculpture has arrived at the British Museum. Nobody — and I mean nobody — in Britain should miss it. Why? Because it changes our understanding of civilisation. Because it rewrites the story of art. Because it is a once-in-a-lifetime revolutionary event. If none of those is a big enough reason for you, then go along merely to enjoy some of the most graceful and lovely sculpture ever made. Trust me. You need to see this one.”
Organized by the Museum for African Art in New York, in collaboration with the Fundación Marcelino Botín of Santander, Spain, and the Nigerian National Commission on Museums and Monuments.Curated by Dr Enid Schildkrout, Chief Curator, Museum for African Art.

Accompanied by a full-color, 186 page catalogue

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Free for VMFA members and children 6 and under

$8 for adults

$6 for seniors 65+, students
with ID, adult groups of 10+, and youth ages 7–17

Tickets can also be purchased by calling 804.340.1405 

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